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too, that must have been, when man was only safe within thick wall and moated ditch! These petty castles ever put me in mind of the Indian warfare, and the little block-houses to which our fathers rushed for safety from the tomahawk. Barbarian man here was but little better than the savage. If it had not been for Christianity, with its voice of peace, to soften the ferocity of the times, would man have ever advanced, and would the college and the scholar have ever divided sway with the axe and blunderbuss?
The ancient fort of * Rheinfelz is now in view. The best comment I can make upon it, is - none at all; for silence often speaks what words cannot. Wilder and wilder the country is. An enormous rock, called Lurleyberg, is on our left. A curious echo is here. Some workmen on the road blew a blast on the bugle to astonish us. Our captain fired off a small piece of cannon; the boatmen of the Rhine here crying, “ Lureley,” “Lureley!” invoking the water-spirit that has dominion here; — and “ Lureley” responds from her rocky mouths.
I love these little superstitions. They make us think of others than ourselves. They show that we are not all of earth.
And yet wilder and wilder the scenery is. The early messengers of Heaven made their first lodgments here among these rocks, and spread Christianity among the fishermen of the Rhine.
The Rhine narrows, and the whirlpools form. Our steamer staggered in the current. The boatmen ran their rafts through this wild pass in safety, by attaching a large trunk of a tree to the left side of one; which trunk is loosened when the whirlpool is approached, so as to be only connected with the prow. The whirlpool swallows this up; and thus the raft is attracted to the left bank, and kept in the proper stream. The river here opens into a lake enclosed in rocks. Oberwessel is in sight, with its Gothic church and chapel.
The castle of † Pfalz is situated in the centre of the river. Pfalz was probably built on this island as a toll-house of the Rhine, to stop the boats that would not pay the tolls. It is a queer place, — with a curious staircase to the door of the castle, which is high up, — to be free from the river floods. Here Blucher crossed the Rhine, when on his way to make an end, at Waterloo, of the robber of a world.
Pfälts, — a, as in arm.
Blooher, -h guttural. YOUNG LADIES' READER.
The Rhine seem
ust as I began to be weary of being pent up among the ills, with only vinevards on the rocks in my eye, and I night say I had seen enough of castles, as we passed a cluser of them at * Asmannhausen, and as six horses took our amer in tow over a ridge of rocks which cross the river at
T Bingerloch,the open, broad-spread vale of the 1 Rheingau, was in sight, stretching as far onward as I could see,
towns and chateaux on the right and left, - vineyards as amous as any in the world, and the rich mellow cornfields, w thoroughly ripened by the long summer sun. he Rhine seems to have been formed for the purpose of
ming the eye, in exhibiting delightful contrasts. As you
ectations are sadly damped. All at once, comes the
begin your vo
wilderness of ro
T. C. Grattan.
THE FERRYMAN'S DAUGHTER.
[The following nar
ear, and intense agitation. The
” — the
“moveS shifts from “ mediano
e following narrative is designed as an exercise in vivid and vari
rce varies from 66 subdued” « pure tone” to “shouting;"
Countries, that t so liard. is brough may appear a
ng the peasantry of all
or which the fathers work by one of their children. This
Tis a pleasant arrangement among the peasan
er; ch, as a guttural h.
often give great importance to small matters. The precision with which the German labourers rest from their toil, at ten o'clock in the morning, would of itself make one attach an exclusive value to that chosen hour. The thought that so many thousands of rural workmen are at that given moment reposing on the broad lap of nature, picturesquely served by their sons or daughters, and taking their simple refreshment, with wholesome appetites and thankful hearts, is a pleasant thought. It is pleasanter still to look closely on some group in your field or your garden, so employed; and the preparatory hand-washing in the nearest fountain or stream, might prepare you to expect a ceremony more elaborate than that of sitting down to eat a section of dry brown bread, — poetically called black; — for the national motto of Germany, “Black-bread and Freedom," — is as much an exaggeration of fancy with regard to the food as to the freedom.
This is the morning lunch of Germany; and the afternoon lunch is at four o'clock, - a connecting link between dinner and supper. Now happy is the man whose wife can afford to send him a jug of coffee, at these middle meals; and happy was * Johan Reisacher. Not that he had a wife, at the time I knew him, but just a maiden sister, who made his bed, his soup, and his coffee, with due attention and regularity. He had, however, a daughter, — the child of his old age, the consolation of the widower, his every-day companion out of school-hours, the knitter and mender of his stockings, and the Hebe of his afternoon repast.
Susannah Reisacher was one of those hardy, straight-forward, strong-built, and sober-minded children that we meet with now and then; and, at the first glance, we assure ourselves that, be their condition what it may, they will inevitably make the best of it, and thrive progressively through life, without any other distinction than that of always doing their duty. Susannah fully bcre out the promise of her countenance. She was one of the most diligent and orderly scholars of Sasbach school, the most attentive to the duties of household affairs, and steady, beyond comparison, in those she owed to her old father and her elderly aunt. She was twelve years old, when she first attracted my notice; and her father had been ferryman of Sasbach, in the district or parish of Breisach, for more than double that number of years. And it must be confessed that old Reisacher had the appearance of
* Pronounced, Yohan Risacher, - ch sounding like a very harsh h. one who had been blown about by the east winds of life. He looked more worn than his thread-bare gray jacket; and yet there was an air of precaution and economy about him, that promised an unusual length of days, both to himself and to his wardrobe. He was the oracle of his village, and a remarkable man in his way. He could ascertain when a dog or a cow had been looked at by an evil eye, and, if invoked, would counteract this spell, by burning certain withered leaves at midnight, in presence of the afflicted quadruped. He could, moreover, stop the gaping mouths of insignificant wounds by the mysterious utterance of two or three sentences, (which no one ever heard ;) and these, (when assisted by cobwebs, or certain chewed leaves,) have been known to produce miraculous results.
But I must not trust myself with the precise detail of his many superfluous accomplishments. Let those already mentioned suffice; and let him stand out in my picture as a part and parcel of a group in which he does not form the principal figure, — an adjunct of that deep-rolling river on which my scene is laid, in which he enthusiastically gloried, from a conviction that he somehow, — he knew not how, - belonged to it, or it to him. He often used to say, as he looked on it in its angry moods, that it was “horribly beautiful ;” and such it certainly was on the day that forms the epoch of my sketch.
It was, within a few minutes more or less, just four o'clock, on the 15th of September, 1831, when I resolved to cross by the Sasbach ferry, and resume my evening walk on the other side of the river; for the midday meal had been long over, and like all eaten bread, soon forgotten. But, on approaching the well-known boat, I paused to observe the innocent appropriation of the hour, on the part of my old acquaintance and his young attendant. There stood Susannah in the middle of the boat, - her feet and legs unconscious of shoes and stockings; and there sat old Johan, at one end of it, indulging in all the garrulous greetings common to the proprietors of wrinkles and gray hairs. The coffee-jug, which he at times applied to his lips, seemed to liquidize his imagination; and from his smiles and gestures, I could fancy him in a diluted state of feeling altogether amiable. The black bread remained beside him for graver discussion. But, just at this moment, I was unfortunately perceived, and the meal came to an untimely end.
With all the ready bustle of one who wisely and habitually considers his business as of more importance than his ease, friend Reisacher rose from his seat, laid his hand on the oar, declared himself ready, with his usual obstinate activity; and, on my stepping into the boat, he proceeded to make his angular transit, first against the current, and then with it, with geometrical precision; and, in five minutes, we were at the opposite side of the river, which moved on in a sullen swell, reflecting the dark and heavy autumn clouds that rolled slowly above. During those five minutes, I had succeeded in tempting the venerable connoisseur to accompany me to a village not quite half a league from the ferry, for the purpose of looking at a wood-ranger's horse, which, inaking liberal allowance for the errors of its education, and its potato diet, was very much the sort of an animal that I had a mind to purchase.
To ask the opinion of Johan Reisacher, on such a matter, was to bind him to you forever.
“ Susannah, child," said the old man,“ keep the boat here, and wait for me. I shall be back in three little half-hours. Let no one persuade you to cross; for the wind is rising, and the current is very strong; and the weather seems upon the change: I feel that we shall have a squally evening. But I shall be with you in time to take you home, and excuse you from your good aunt Lena's scolding for staying out so long." And so saying, he drew up, coiled the rope round a tree hard by; and away we went, the weather-seer carefully avoiding to look up at the sky, (which could have told any fool that bad weather was coming,) lest his atmospheric sagacity might appear less profound than he meant me to believe it.
Susannah took out her blue worsted stocking, and multiplied its parallelograms, comfortably indifferent to the cold gusts that swept across the valley.
But after a time, the heavy cloud which old Reisacher preferred not seeing, and the chilling wind which his daughter seemed determined not to feel, began to burst and hiss; and a sudden stop was put to one of my companion's vainglorious panegyrics on his own infallibility of judgment in matters of horse-flesh, by a loud crash of thunder.
“There will be a storm,” said I.
“Ay, indeed there will; but I scarcely thought it would be so bad as what is coming,” replied Johan, thoughtfully, and staring full in the face of the lowering sky. “Yet the child need not get wet for all that, unless she likes it; for is not there the old tarpauling and the oars, whereof she may make a covering ?”